At least every week I can count on finding a fascinating series of images on the blog of our New York-based photographer Aaron Joel Santos. Lately, Aaron has been focused on some of the subcultures of Southeast Asia.
More out of the ordinary are the pictures Aaron brought home from a trip to Thailand.
The above picture is of Ant, a singer at a Bangkok club. Here’s Aaron’s description of her:
She’s 21 years old and has been taking hormones to become a woman since she was 12, in the form of simple, over-the-counter birth control pills. She was kind enough to invite me into her home and backstage at her place of work to take pictures and talk to her about her decision to become a woman. She grew up in northeastern Thailand and moved to Bangkok at age 15. She knew she wanted to be a woman from her first memories.
Aaron spent considerable time with these “ladyboys” of Thailand, who are famous for their cabaret stage shows.
Backstage was lots of makeup. Like an hour of straight makeup. Foundation. More foundation. And then a little more foundation. Some color. Some eyelashes. Some glitter. Some crazy outfits.
My favorite picture is of Aer:
When Aaron asked Aer if she took hormones, she replied, “I make my own hormones.”